Come on everybody, get on your feet and do the Joel Osteen dance! It's light and fluffy, without conviction or substance. All you have to do is look incredibly uncomfortable when Oprah asks a question about homosexuality, and then you stutter and stammer, wave your hands and give a weak acknowledgement that the Bible states homosexuality is a sin.
Mr. Osteen is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. He is the author of several bestselling books and he reaches over seven million broadcast media viewers every week in over one hundred nations around the world.
His sermons are full of sweetness and light; "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life," he assures. Be positive and happy, happy, happy and you will be blessed and even more prosperous. Just be nice and get along with people and pray once in a while. Oh yeah, be sure to give generously to the church so we can pay for this obscenely massive building with its coffee bar, recreational courts, youth center and so on. That pretty much sums up his teachings on how to be a Christian.
But Joel, heaven forbid you mention the "S" word! You know that pesky thing that separates us from God? What is it called again? Mmm? SIN? Yesseree, you got it! Sin. Now Joel, I know talking about sin is politically incorrect and bad for business. I understand, I really do! However, you purport to be a representative of God, a shepherd so to speak, and the unbelieving public looks to you for guidance and teaching on how they can go to heaven when they die. Unfortunately, you are leading your little sheep right off a cliff because you're not telling them the whole truth.
Why is that, Joel? Tell you what, here honey, let me help you out. When is the last time you told them that, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"? (Romans 6:23) Have you ever mentioned that Psalm 14:3 says, "They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one", so the excuse, "I am a good person and will go to heaven" is worthless?
What about the blood? Do they understand that there is NOTHING they can do to earn salvation; that it is a gift from God through the shed blood of His son, Jesus? You remember how it works, don't you? Jesus paid our personal death penalty for us by dying in our place, and He rose from the grave to prove He can give us eternal life. Sound familiar? Did you ever tell them that they must confess and repent of their sins and believe that Jesus died for them and He is the Son of God?
Repent. Yuck. I know, Joel, hardly anyone uses that word anymore. Repent: To make a 180 degree turn from sin and resolve to never repeat it. That's quite a bit different than just winking at God and mumbling, "Gee God, I'm sorry. Now open the gate and step aside, I'm going into heaven", isn't it? They really should know when they accept Christ into their heart they are changed from the inside out. They're no longer interested in the things they used to do; they have a desire to learn more about Jesus and have a hunger for His Word.
Of course you'll need to remind them that they will still sin every single day, but because they belong to God, they are constantly in a state of grace and according to 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." It's so simple, don't you think, Joel?
However, this is what YOU are instructed in the Bible to do: 2 Timothy 4:2-4, "Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables." Why don't I see you doing this?? You're tickling their ears and making sure they aren't offended, aren't you?
What's the deal, Joel? Are you so spiritually castrated that you're terrified of standing firm and declaring what the Word of God says about homosexuality? You don't need to be afraid! After all, you didn't make the rules; you're just supposed to tell others about them and that, because God LOVES them, how they can escape the just punishment that is surely coming. That's not so hard, is it??
Yes, I know people will leave your church in droves. They won't tolerate hearing the truth because they don't want to be accountable to a Holy God; they want to live life on their own terms, however they want to. They might even *gasp!* make fun of you and call you bad things! The income will drop like a rock and you might have to adjust your lifestyle a little. The television interviews will stop coming and your books might not be best sellers, but guiding your flock to the truth is your job as pastor, is it not?
Of course, you can always keep on going as you are; cringing in fear before the demi-goddess, Oprah, when she asks you what sin is. You can fidget and stammer and answer in that whiney, smarmy voice of yours the truth of what God says and then apologize for it.
And life will be beautiful and you'll keep on being popular and you'll keep on being 'blessed'. I recommend you give a little thought to whom is doing the blessing. Almighty God, who expects you to speak truth, or the 'god of this world' whom you are serving so well.
Keep on dancing Joel. Just keep on dancing.
Donna Wasson is all of the following: Married. Mom. Hospice RN. Avid reader. Animal lover. Needing to spread the Gospel while there is still time.
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